The Jewelry Selling Process

The jewelry selling process are the steps you should follow that will increase your chances of closing the sale. No matter how fine a product you produce, you need sales to keep your business going.

This process is nothing more than explaining the benefits of a product to a potential customer so that the customer can make a buying decision.

Of course to be able to explain the benefits of your products:

  • You must have a thorough understanding of each jewelry object you are selling.
  • You must be able to explain what makes your product unique and how it can benefit the buyer.
  • You must find out what each customer's needs and desires are.
  • You must build trust and respect with each customer.
  • You must be able to know when to close a sale and how to handle objections.
  • The selling process involves thinking, feeling, imagination and service.

In every sales transaction something is not only sold, something is also bought. The customer is trading money for something that is worth more to him or her than having the money. As a salesperson it is your job to convince the customer that your products are worth owning.

Whether your potential customer is at a retail or wholesale level, there is an 8 step pattern you should follow that will increase your chances to closing the sale.

The Selling Process

These steps are meant to act a guideline in the selling process, as each sales approach will probably have to be customized to fit the situation and the customer.

Step 1: Be Prepared

  • The purpose of being prepared is to provide you, the salesperson, with pertinent information needed to increase your confidence in the selling process. Being prepared also means knowing your product and being able to answer any questions that pertain to it.

    You need to have a thorough knowledge of the jewelry being sold, what makes it unique, how can it benefit the buyer, prices, and so forth. You must be the expert your customers expect you to be, appearing professional, confident, and knowledgeable about every detail of your product.

    The most effective way to make sales is to match the customers' wants, needs, and desires with what you have to sell. Think out who your proper customer prospects are, why they should buy what you offer, and how you can give them the best of products and service. This ability will come from preparation and product knowledge, and will enable you to provide outstanding customer service.

    • Being prepared also means knowing where all your extra stock is when a customer asks for a product in a different colour or size.
    • Being prepared means not having to search for your receipt book, cash box, and packing materials once a sale has been closed.
    • Being prepared means not having to rifle through your briefcase for sales literature and then, heaven forbid, coming up empty.
    • Being prepared means producing a business card when asked and not having to write your business name and telephone number on a scrap of paper.
    • Being prepared means having a wholesale price list available at a retail show in case a shop buyer is interested in your work.
    • Being prepared means never having to say you're sorry.

Step 2: Opening the Sale

  • The first essential key to selling is to develop a sensitivity to your potential customer, and that is not always a simple task.
  • Each of us is a unique creature. However, we do share some likes and dislikes. We respond to people who are courteous, for example, and we are repelled by actions that are overbearing or ungracious.

    We respect honesty an upstanding behavior and deplore deceit. And we all like to be treated with respect. These likes and dislikes underlie all human relationships and understanding them is crucial in the selling process. Sensitivity to them is part of the art of persuasion.

    How you open your sales presentation sets the tone for the remainder of the time spent with the customer.

    You must develop a person-to-person relationship using small talk to put the customer at ease. Your opening remarks must be questions to encourage conversation and should never have anything to do with business.

    Remember you want to develop a relationship. To help take the pressure off, greet customers with a smile and a friendly hello. Encourage them to browse. Wait a few seconds then approach the customer with your opening line.

    Never start your conversation with "Can I help you?" or "Are you looking for anything special?" Always start your conversation with a topic that has nothing to do with your products or what they are shopping for. Ask them about the weather, how they like the show, compliment them on something they are wearing or carrying.

    What ever you do, don't dominate the conversation and start to babble on about your personal life or start complaining about any problems you are encountering. You want to create enthusiasm not bore or depress your customers. Keep the conversation light and try to get them to do all the talking.

Step 3: Probing

  • Once the customer is put at ease, feels comfortable and has developed some trust in you, your next step is to determine the customers' wants, needs and desires. This is done with the use of effective probing questions.

    Probing questions should always be open-ended questions which begin with Who, What, When, or How. These types of questions encourage more of an answer than yes or no. This process can be pleasant or uncomfortable for the customer. The reason is not because of the number of questions but how supportive you are of the customers' answers.

    The art of probing is to find what motivates each particular customer. No two customers are ever alike. Each brings to the transaction a particular set of needs, wants, perceptions, and expectations based on prior life experience and circumstances.

    Try selling a pack of cigarettes to a non-smoker , or a hard-rock record to a Beethoven fan. Selling a crystal necklace, for example, to a man requires quite a different approach from selling the same piece of jewelry to a woman. Is the man buying the necklace as a gift or to be thoughtful? Does he want to play the big spender? Is the woman buying it for herself to be fashionable or different or to match a sweater she just bought?

    Harry J. Friedman, in his book Successful Retail Selling, says that the probing stage in the selling process is where "Question - Answer - Support" or Q.A.S. comes in. "Every human being wants and needs to be heard. Providing supportive care, empathy and concern will increase customer trust in you, i.e. Support = Trust. Probing questions should be asked in a logical sequence. By asking general questions first and then more specific ones, you eliminate certain items and begin to zero in on the right merchandise. The probing process should continue until you develop a mental picture of what you have that matches what your customer wants. Stay focused on the customer. Let them talk and you listen. Don't overwhelm them by giving them a strong sales pitch."

    While probing, show genuine interest. It is basic to human nature that we are drawn to people who show interest in us. Use this time to establish a rapport with your potential customer. While you are not in a position to interrogate the person, you can ask friendly questions if your interest is sincere. Showing interest in the potential customer is the polite way to conduct business.

Step 4: The Demonstration

  • There are two major objectives to be accomplished during the demonstration:

    1. Establish the worth or value of the product...the benefit derived from the purchase.
    2. Generating desire...the need to own the merchandise.

    In other words, cause the customer to say, "I'll take it" before you have to ask, "Will you buy it?" If you listened carefully to the customers' responses in probing, you'll have several good point to use in the demonstration.

    In handcrafted jewelry particularly, the necessity of a sales explanation is an important factor. It's not like buying a loaf of bread or a liter of milk. They sell themselves because the customer is fully aware of the benefits of eating regularly.

    To sell handcrafted jewelry you have to use a method of describing your products which emphasizes the Features, Advantages and Benefits. This technique involves translating the items' features into reasons for the customer to buy (benefits).

    • A Feature is something important about the item—its attributes and qualities. The Advantage states why it is better to have the features vs not having them and the Benefit is what the product will do for the customer. The Features and Advantages are used only as information about the product to build up to the most important selling point—Benefits. People buy benefits — they will want to know how or what they can gain by owning the product.

    Be honest. It is counter-productive to lie to make a sale. It doesn't do any good to be evasive either. Always remember that you are trying to build a long-term relationship. You might get one big order with one small lie, but if that lie is discovered you will have destroyed the longterm success of your business. And believe me, lies do get found out eventually.

Step 5: Trial Close

  • A trial close is when the customer is not quite ready to make a decision, and you have to nudge them a little. Ask them which color they would prefer, or what size suits them best. Point out the different accessories or add-ons you also sell which may make the product more desirable.

    Don't be pushy. Although you want the customer to believe that they must have the product(s), let them feel that the buying decision is there's.

    As with the probing stage, don't talk too much. Know when to speak and when not to. Don't be afraid of silence. It could mean the customer is deciding to buy your product. You cannot force a sale by trying to talk them into it, but you can lose one.

Step 6: Objections

    Harry J. Friedman, author of Successful Retail Selling, say "Objections are the result of a lack of trust or value. Therefore, it is vital to learn the real objection and not take the stated objection at face value.

    There are five steps in handling objections:

    1. Listen to the entire objection... do not interrupt the customer.
    2. Acknowledge customers' objection... be empathetic - you are on their side.
    3. Get the customers' permission to ask a question... May I ask a question? Wait for affirmative response.
    4. The Smoke Out - "Do you like the item?"

      Once this is established, proceed. Discuss some of the Features-Advantages-Benefits used during the demonstration. If the customer responds negatively re-probe, and demonstrate different items.

    5. Give a new reason to buy (Feature-Advantage-Benefit)... Give them new information in the form of different Feature-Advantage-Benefit.

  • The Price Objection - Budget or Value?

    Price objection is based on two considerations:

    1. Budget
    2. Value

    It is important to determine which of these two reasons is holding back the sale.

    Ask the following: "Is the price of the item too high (Value) or is it more than you wanted to spend today? (Budget)"

    If the answer is:

    1. Budget: Ask how much he/she wants to spend and find an item in that price range.
    2. Value: give a new Feature-Advantage-Benefit and make sure the customer understands the true worth of the item.

Step 7: Closing the Sale

  • Closing the sale makes you a true salesperson. This is where you actually ask the customer to buy. One of biggest mistakes made by new crafts entrepreneurs is failure to ask for the order. Asking the customer to buy can be very difficult for most first-time salespeople —perhaps because it is the one question that by its nature demands a yes or no answer.

    Don't be afraid to ask the customer to buy, because it is a perfectly logical and acceptable thing to do. It is expected. You are not there under false pretenses; the customer knows you are there to make a sale and would probably not waste your time or their's if they were not truly interested in your products.

    Deciding on the right moment to ask the question is the most difficult thing. Experience and sensitivity will tell you at what point to ask for the order—a point that is unlikely to be the same for any two customers. If the sales presentation has gone well, the customer has expressed solid interest, and you have dealt with any negative factors, the time is probably opportune. Consider a closing comment like: "Will that be cash or charge?" or "Would you like it in blue or brown?"

Step 8: Confirmation and Invitations

  • This step eliminates buyers' remorse and returns, and increases repeat business.

    Thank the customer for their order or purchase and if possible use the customer's name (get it off cheque, credit card, etc.), this will help to establish a more personal relationship.

    Let your customer know he/she has made the right decision by reviewing the Features - Advantages - Benefits and invite them back — giving a specific reason to come back. If you carry a line of products, be sure to include a brochure or flyer with the order. If the customer is happy with their purchase, they will want to come back for more.

    Always end your sales presentation on a high note. This is easy if you made the sale. The handshake is firm, the smiles are warm, and the purchase is made. It is more a test of your professionalism if you met with refusal.

    If the sales presentation is unsuccessful, don't let it show. Keep the handshake firm and the smile warm, and be sure to leave the door open. If you were professional, well intentioned, and honest, that customer will see you again. Maybe today they just weren't ready to buy. In sales, there is always another day.

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Return to How to Sell Jewelry: A Guide to Marketing and Selling Beaded Handmade Jewelry
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